The high acidic levels of energy drinks and sports beverages cause irreversible erosion to your teeth’s enamel—that hard, shiny outer layer. Once the enamel is breached, decay of the underlying, softer dentine easily sets in.
A recent study in the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) published the results of research headed by lead author Poonam Jain, BDS, MS, MPH.
Jain and his researchers examined the acidity levels in 13 sports drinks and 9 energy drinks and then immersed samples of human tooth enamel in each beverage for 15 minutes. Then they immersed the enamel in artificial saliva for two hours and then immersed it in fresh artificial saliva.
The procedure was repeated 4 times daily for 5 days.
After only 5 days, tooth enamel was noticeably damaged, with energy drinks inflicting twice as much damage as did sports drinks.
“Young adults consume these drinks assuming that they will improve their sports performance and energy levels and they are ‘better’ for them than soda,” says Jain. “Most of these patients are shocked to learn that these drinks are essentially bathing their teeth in acid.”
Jennifer Bone, DDS, MAGD and spokesperson for the AGD, suggests to her patients that they minimize their consumption of energy and sports drinks and chew sugar-free gum or rinse their mouths with water after consumption. She says, “Both tactics increase saliva flow, which naturally helps to return the acidity levels in the mouth to normal.”
Bone cautions patients to wait at least one hour before brushing their teeth after drinking the beverages. Otherwise, they risk scrubbing the acid into tooth surfaces.
Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, September 2012 Medical News Today, May 06, 2012 ScienceDaily, May 01, 2012 Study published in Dentistry Today, May/June 2012